TRUSTEES behind a bid to open Burnley’s first free school say an alternative site could still be chosen.

The selection of Habergham High School as the group’s ‘preferred site’ is still subject to change without official backing.

Talks on the suitability of the former Habergham High School, in Byron Street, are now expected to lead to weeks of discussions between the Chapel Street School’s Trust, the Department for Education and Lancashire County Council. It is expected to be several weeks before a decision is announced.

Russell Rook, CEO of Chapel St, said: “We’re disappointed that negotiations, to this point, have not been as successful as we'd have liked.

“As a result, a statutory process has begun between the Department for Education and Lancashire County Council to secure the former Habergham High School for the new free school.

"We remain totally committed to serving the many local families and residents who have supported and are contributing to the creation of Burnley High School and have every confidence that this issue will be resolved and the school will open as planned in September 2014.”

Backers for the free school revealed on Friday that the Byron Street building was their preferred site for the ‘Christian ethos’ school.

The buildings were vacated as part of the £250million Building Schools for the Future programme.

The location was announced after the Life Church Burnley, Community Solutions Lancashire and the Chapel Street Schools Trust held a meeting with 100 parents.

If given the go-ahead, it would open in September, with 90 Year Seven places available, but will ultimately see around 700 pupils including 200 sixth formers.

A statutory process is now taking place between Lancashire County Council and the Department for Education over the site.